POST 6: March 24, 2017

Warm-Ups:

This week let’s try some warm-ups.  What’s a warm-up? It’s an idea starter, a mind jogger, something to help you write when your brain power is slowing down or you just can’t get started.  We’ll try two this week and add more in the following weeks.

Character Sketch:  Write a few paragraphs about a character you want to use in a short story or novel. Who is this person?  Describe this person–looks, hobbies, job, likes/dislikes, life’s goals.  What is keeping this person from obtaining those goals/desires?  Keep writing about this person until you feel you have been friends for years.

Dialogue:  Eavesdrop on a conversation at the office, in the grocery store, at the health club or at a social event, and then recreate that conversation as dialogue for your story.  Write it until it reads like people actually talk to each other.

More warm-ups on their way…

SEE with WORDS: June 17, 2015

WRITE-ON

Everybody has a story to tell—your time is NOW. OR IS IT!  Before you roll up your sleeves, sharpen some pencils or turn on the computer, clear those dust bunnies from your brain, hone up your imagination to start on your writing journey, STOP, look in the mirror and be candid with the person staring back at you as you answer question #1: why do you want to write?

Writing is a crowded profession—it attracts more people than any of the other arts, made especially popular today with the advent of digital online publishing.  Most people who “have a story to tell” may skip commercial or traditional publishers, even subsidy or vanity presses, and go straight to online eBooks.  It’s faster, easier, and less expensive, and there’s sometime to be said to “I did it my way!”  Approximately 150,000 books are produced each year, and most of them are published by small and independent publishers.

Now answer question #1 honestly.  If you want to write for fame and fortune, its best you turn around and choose another career.   Pure luck can give some people an edge, and for others talent, friends, relatives in the business, or a famous career in the limelight can help their chances of getting noticed and published.

It’s true you do want a salable book, but marketing and promoting are hard work—sometimes you barely break even.  On the other hand, if you are writing because you really have something to say, have the drive of seeing a project through, believe in the truth of your writing regardless of any financial gain, then the chances of accomplishing your goal are reasonable.

Once you answered you writing intentions then proceed to answering the following questions:

  1. What skills do you have for writing?
  2. Is there an audience for your kind of book?
  3. How good are your marketing and promoting skills?
  4. Do you have the financial means to publish a book?
  5. With 150,000 new books a year, what makes yours unique?

You will find that writing is the easy part—publishing and marketing take determination and persistence.  If you are committed to your final goal, then nobility of purpose will see you through.  Writing is a journey—its own reward.

 

 

SEE with Words: March 17, 2015

5 Reasons to Self-Publish:

Commercial publishers don’t have the time or resources to read all of the manuscripts submitted, upwards of 150,000 titles per year.  They are looking for name recognition or authors who come with certain sales potential and definite outlets.

Within recent years, self-publishing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the publishing industry.  Some of the best authors may not initially be published by a major publishing house, but after the book is printed and marketed in published form, and the author establishes a track record in sales, that book may be picked up by a major publishing house for an attractive contract.

Two such success stories are:

Laurie Notaro’s The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club was originally published by iUniverse, then placed twelfth on the New York Times Paperback Best-Seller List which landed her a six-figure, two-book contract with Random House.

Steven Keslowitz’s The Simpsons and Society was first published by Wheatmark before the book was published by Sourcebooks.

So here are the 5 reasons you may want to consider self-publishing:

  1. Keep control of your project;
  2. Control the time frame for writing, editing, and publishing;
  3. Fill a specific niche;
  4. Be the sole owner of the proceeds from the book’s sales;
  5. Get yourself in print.

Check Amazon.com for books published by Eileen Birin.

SEE with WORDS: January 26, 2015

What makes a WRITER tick!

Part of the majesty of being a writer is that we don’t fully understand what makes us tick, and if we did, we would lose the edge of our creativity.             –Tom-

Writing is like creating a movie; I’m the author, the producer, the director, and I get to play all the roles, be all the characters.                                   -Mabel-

I get thoughts and inspirations that won’t leave until I write them down.                                            -Val-

Writing is very therapeutic as well as relaxing and fun.             -Sandy-

I write to share what I learn.                     –Marty-

My mind is filled with ideas and they need to see themselves on paper before they disappear in a poof of smoke.                                                  –Linda-

I write because the characters make me!  They won’t let me off the hook.                                 –Zanne-

Writing validates my existence; it feeds my soul.            -Nancy-

I write for the same reason I read – to connect with a greater truth, a deeper feeling.  It helps me find my footing in the universe.                           –Marilyn-

My research over the years has unearthed thousands of stories that need to be told and preserved for posterity.  It is satisfying to share with others and know that the stories will not die.              –Emily-

A writing career gives you the opportunity to help other people – whether that means informing, entertaining or inspiring them.   I feel honored when readers tell me they enjoyed my book.        –Brian-

I write so I can be alone.         –Julie-

When I was 58 or 59 years old, I found out I had suppressed the desire to write all my life.  My friends haunted me until I wrote my first book.  Now I find writing so rewarding I can’t stop.                 –Mike-

I am a disable veteran who finds writing puts me into another world in which time and pain passes me by.                                                               -Sheila-

What can I say, I’m a writing junkie – hooked on ideas and words and other such creative stuff.      –Eileen-

 

 

 

SEE with WORDS: January 19, 2015

Got an urge to write?  It’s not that hard – get started! 

So you always wanted to write.  Seriously.  Maybe it was a story you read, a movie or TV show you saw that perked your interest and caused you to say, “I can write like that.”  Or maybe you have something you want to say, ideas you have been wrestling with, memoirs to leave your loved ones, a story or poem that’s struggling within you to be put on paper.  Whatever the reason, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t interested in writing.

But writing is hard work and too many wannabes fall by the wayside while sitting and waiting for the right opportunity or that epic idea that will set them on fire.

If you’re serious about pursuing the craft of writing, for pleasure or profit, then the first thing to do is get started.

Think of writing as you would any job.  You must show up, be on time, produce and enjoy what you are doing if you want to reap any rewards.

For starters keep a journal.  Professional writers have files or notebooks filled with notes, bits of conversations, cartoons, observations, newspaper clippings, photos, doodles.  They collect like crazy anything and everything.  Who knows what poem, story or article is lurking among those scraps of paper.

Ideas abound all around us.  Collect whatever you see and hear: a neighbor’s fading smile or the shoes on his feet; family stories or hiking White Tank Mountain Park; xeriscape gardening or an early morning Arizona sun rise.  Whatever you have observed describe in your journal or tape recorder.  Writers are keen observers, the more you develop this aspect, the more ideas will come to you.  Include in your journal your dreams and imaginings.  Imagination is the stuff creative writing is made of.

The next important step is to set up a routine.  Writers write every day; that’s their job.  Cultivating the essential habit of writing regularly will make writing easier and fun.

When to write and where to write will depend on your life style.  Try writing at different times: early morning, high noon, far into the night.  Once you’ve found your writing time, stick with it.  Serious writers would never think of doing dishes, the laundry, shopping, playing golf, answering the phone during their writing time.

It is also necessary to find a place where you feel comfortable at writing: your room or office, the kitchen table, soaking in a tub, lying on a couch.  Hemingway wrote standing at a lectern; Capote stretched out on a couch or in a hammock.  Some writers use tricks to get them in their writing mode like listening to music or the outside sounds of nature.  Whatever works.

Read more in Excuse My Dust, ten quick steps for writing success, available on Amazon.com

Book Characters

Organize the books in your personal library.  Write a story using characters from five of them.

Last sentence – new story

Select a book from a random shelf in your home library.  Copy down the last sentence, and use this line to begin a short story.

What’s in a Word

Use the following words in your story or poem: little boy, torn page, market, cart.

Write a poem

Find a short article in a newspaper or magazine.  Write a poem based on its subject.

Weather Writing

Check the day’s forecast first thing in the morning.  When you get to your desk, write a page explaining why this is the perfect weather for writing (even it it isn’t).

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